Why You Need a Copywriting Niche

by Patty

Business StrategyWhen starting a freelance copywriting career, the fastest way to jump start your earnings is to pick a niche and market to that niche with single-minded determination.

My niche was (and still is) the construction software industry. Why on Earth would anyone choose construction as their specialty? Because the bulk of my recent experience was in construction software marketing and copywriting and I had connections in that industry. (Even today, 80% of my freelance writing projects are for construction software vendors, although I now work with clients in other markets.)

But your niche doesn’t necessarily have to be an industry (like mine).

It can be a writing type, such as:

  • Press releases
  • Customer case studies (one of my sub-niches in construction)
  • Writing web site copy
  • White papers
  • Data sheets
  • Ghostwriting trade magazine articles

Niche Copywriting vs. Generalist Writing

Many people might argue that they don’t need a niche because they can write “about anything.” While that may be true, that was not the approach I used. And, since this is my formula, I’m going to tell you: don’t try to be a generalist copywriter out of the gate!

Choosing a niche brings focus to your business launch. It helps you sell your services in a very direct way and streamlines the process of moving from concept to completion. If you truly want to be a generalist copywriter, broaden your offerings once you’ve established your niche business. (Although you might be surprised how, once you’ve established your niche, new work in that niche will come to you seemingly out of the blue!)

How to Choose Your Niche

When choosing your initial copywriting niche, select something that:

  1. Interests you (so that you can enthusiastically sell your service);
  2. That you’re good (so you can demonstrate your capabilities to your prospects); and
  3. That you have some experience with (to give yourself credibility)

When contacting prospects by phone, e-mail or in person, you want to convey confidence that, if a prospect hires you, you’ll be able to get the job done. Breaking into freelance copywriting is easiest when you write what you know. Choose your niche accordingly!

Copywriter Confession: Choosing my niche was easy since I had 8 years of experience as the marketing manager for a construction software development firm. But if your experience isn’t that straight forward, leave a comment with your niche-selection questions and I’ll do my best to help!

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris

Hi,
Thanks for the article. Great information and insight.
I’m interested in writing copy for a living. I don’t have a huge amount of experience in any industry, however, I do have a background as a musician and love music.
Are you aware of opportunities to develop a niche within the music business? I have written some bios for artists/bands as a favor and they were very well received, however, getting musicians to pay for something is like pulling teeth – plus there’s not much to be made just writing bios.
All input is greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Chris
cbridges2007@yahoo.com

Reply

Patty

Hi Chris,
Thanks for your comment. The key to earning a living as a freelancer is to go where the money is. In your case, you should look for ways to sell your writing and experience to music-related businesses. Off the top of my head, I’m thinking music/event promoters, music producers, online retailers that sell music and instruments, even radio stations. Another idea is to pitch music reviews to daily or weekly newspapers.

In addition to pursuing paid writing projects, you could also start your own music blog (with reviews, commentary, band profiles, etc.) and, once you have a following, sell advertising to help support your site. You can start a blog with very little money – just a domain name and hosting.

Hope some of these ideas help!

Patty

Reply

Kay

Hi Patty,
Thank you so much for this post. I will be starting full-time in freelance copywriting soon, and am struggling a little bit with what niche is best for me.

I am currently an educator. I’ve been teaching for 11 years. Prior to that, I was a student minister (in fact, I have my Master of Divinity) and taught Bible study for years. I also have corporate sales experience – I sold suture and computers (long time ago).

Since I have corporate experience, I’m thinking the best fit for me (and one that would fit my educational and corporate background) would be business to business copywriting. I’ve written many papers in my three degrees (B.S. in Business Administration, M.B.A. in Marketing, and M.Div.) and would enjoy writing white papers and case studies. Can you provide some guidance for me?

I’d appreciate any feedback! Thank you!

Reply

Patty

Hi Kay,
Thanks for your comment. White papers and case studies are excellent choices if you plan to target business to business copywriting (which does seem to be a good fit for your credentials). When thinking about the type of companies that would hire you for these services, consider looking at software development firms for the case studies and any type of technology firm for while papers (particularly emerging technology where a white paper would educate the audience about something that is new or different).

Your educational background is quite impressive, so even if you don’t have completed case studies or white papers for your portfolio, your experience and other writing samples should paint a vivid picture of your capabilities.

You might consider offering “marketing consulting” services in addition to copywriting, either as an added capability or a value-added service. For example, you could create a “Case Study Package” that includes the actual case study creation, a quotes sheet, a short e-newsletter teaser and three ideas for using the case study as a marketing tool.

I hope these comments help!

Reply

Gerri Ratigan

Hi Patty:

Thanks for helping us out!

I’m wondering about a niche too. I’ve had tons of experience as a life coach and before that as a social worker. Now I would like to spin my copywriting business toward an area where there’s a good living to be made. Do you have ideas? My expertise is: personal growth, self-esteem, divorce recovery, law of attraction – all life coaching areas. I’m thinking that these are all essential for business people – but they don’t necessarily see that. How can I spin this for a more lucrative business?

Thanks,
Gerri

Reply

Patty

Hi Gerri,
There are so many ways that you could leverage your areas of expertise to create additional income streams. Off the top of my head, here are a few ideas:

You could write self-help books and self-publish on Amazon; hold live classes/courses and sell the recorded sessions as e-learning tools; or provide products/services to other writers and creative types who are dealing with burnout, writer’s block, divorce, etc.

If you are interested in tapping into a more commerical/corporate market, you could pitch your copywriting services to companies in a complementary niche (ie: nutritional supplement manufacturers) or put together stress management or other types of wellness programs (written or recorded) and market them to corporations to boost employee morale or productivty.

Good luck using your niche experience to pave a new career path!

Best,
Patty

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